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Urgent reform needed to achieve equality for LGBTI people

Graphic: Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson

A new report by the Australian Human Rights recommends urgent law reform at all levels of government.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in Australia continue to face unjust, state-sanctioned discrimination, unacceptable levels of violence, harassment and bullying and a lack of visibility of the issues that directly affect them in accessing essential services, according to a new report released by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Resilient Individuals: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Rights National Consultation Report was officially launched by the Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis.

The report recommends urgent law reform at all levels of government, and outlines new initiatives of the Australian Human Rights Commission on sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex (SOGII) rights.

"This report followed an extensive consultation across Australia looking at the issues faced by Australians based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status," Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson said.

"In our survey of more than 1500 people, almost 75% of respondents reported experiencing some type of bullying, harassment or violence on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation, while almost 90% reported knowing someone who had experienced bullying, harassment or violence.

"Reducing the unacceptably high rates of violence against LGBTI people is critical. To inform our work in this area, the Commission will undertake a scoping project and data analysis of violence rates.

"We will focus our work on addressing issues around violence against LGBTI Australians, ensuring essential public services meet the needs of LGTBI Australians and continue its existing work to make sports more inclusive."

The report also makes a number of recommendations for law reform at the state and territory level, notably addressing the inconsistency in state anti-discrimination laws.

At a federal level, it recommends amending the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) to equally recognise the partnership of two adult persons regardless of gender; and for alternative options to be identified to enable children under the age of 18 to access hormone treatment, rather than requiring a Family Court Order.

Senator Brandis said the report highlighted that LGBTI people, and young people in particular, continue to face violence and harassment based on their sexual orientation.

"That is one of many of the areas that still need urgently to be addressed by our governments at state and federal levels," Senator Brandis said.

Date: 10 June 2015

Source: Australian Human Rights Commission

Image credits

  1. Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson - Australian Human Rights Commission